On paper, in theory, and during the planning, a Walking School Bus sounds like a great idea and was a perfect fit to our program focused on Fundamental Movement Skills and promoting activity for life. A Walking School Bus is not a new concept, in fact Walking School Buses are taking place all over North America. As the launch approached, we were faced with uncertainty. Would the weather be okay? What if the walk was too long? What if the kids were too tired to walk? Many thoughts and questions crossed our minds as the day approached. There was no turning back now. We had a goal to accomplish!
What is a Walking School Bus?
According to the website, saferoutestoschool.ca, “A Walking School Bus (WSB) is simply a group of children walking together under the supervision of one or more adults following a prescribed route and schedule. Like a regular school bus, it offers a safe, dependable, healthy, and green way for children to get to school versus being driven in a car.”
For Heart Niagara’s after school program, LiveIT!, a Walking School Bus strengthens our opportunity to boost kids physical activity, reduce transportation barriers, our carbon footprint and actually “walk the walk” of promoting and making healthy choices. Along our route we explore various ways of moving our bodies- like running, walking, hopping and more, we also learn importantance of road safety. We make walking fun with the goal of kids choosing active transportation in the future as part of a healthy lifestyle.
On January 4th 2016 – WE DID IT! Our LiveIT! staff and kids walked from St. Mary Catholic Elementary on Morrison Street in Niagara Falls, to Heart Niagara on Valley Way. The walk is about 1.2km, 20-25 mins and ~2000 steps. It may not be far, but our accomplishment is huge! Not only have we done something amazing by offering active transportation as part of our programming, but we have also completed something that is the first of its kind in the Niagara Region. We are so proud of our kids!
The weather was no challenge for our kids, they embraced the snow as they walked and occasionally stopped to play. Their love of walking and the outdoors continues to grow as we walk and explore the world around us. The most surprising part- they aren’t even tired when we arrive to Heart Niagara. After a long day at school and a vigorous walk they still have the energy to be active for another 2 hours- without any signs of slowing down!
Way to go LiveIT! kids!
For more information or to register for LiveIT! Click here